Let’s assume that not everyone is a high ranking martial artist. Is it possible for a woman to escape from a man who grabs her?
“Does anything hurt?” the instructor asks kindly.
“No,” I reply, trembling slightly.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I say, not entirely sure if I mean it.
Before I have time to breathe, I am grabbed from behind by a man who is twice my size and in full armor. His arms are strong, locked around my chest.
“HANDS!” yells the instructor. I raise my hands slightly, but I can only move my forearms because my upper arms are trapped beneath his.
“WAIST!” yells the instructor. I shove my hips backward at the man holding me. He staggers slightly but his grip remains firm. I have gained an inch of space, just enough to slip my arm out of his grasp and slap him hard in the –
“GROIN!” yells the instructor.
The man releases me as his hands drop to his groin, which is supposedly throbbing painfully. I turn around, hands raised, prepared to protect, prepared to punch hard.
I punch him in the face.
Again? Yep. Because my knee is right there. It’s an easy target, and my legs are strong, so I can hit hard.
Because, having been hit in the groin twice, the man has bent over and his head is hanging conveniently next to my knee. I knee him in the head. He falls over onto his back, arms at his helmet, the signal that, were he without his padded armor, he would have been unconscious.
IMPACT is an internationally recognized personal safety, assertiveness and self-defense training program, which is part of a comprehensive effort to prevent sexual assault and other acts of interpersonal violence and boundary violations.
In IMPACT we learn much more than punching and kicking; we learn to set clear verbal boundaries, to stand up for ourselves. We learn to appreciate the strength of our own bodies which not many women are aware of.
When it comes to a physical confrontation, we learn to match a woman’s strengths to a man’s weaknesses in order to get away unscathed. Usually, in everyday life, they are matched the other way; a man’s strengths to a woman’s weaknesses – which leads us to believe the common stereotype that men are stronger than women. The truth is, men are stronger in the upper body, while women are stronger in the lower body. So when a man and a woman arm wrestle, of course he’s going to win – upper body strength! But what if we matched lower body strength in a man and a woman?
Now, you might say, “That’s not fair!” It’s not fair to match one person’s strength against the other’s weakness. But may I calmly point out that SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NOT FAIR either. If someone is trying to rape you, shouldn’t you be allowed to play dirty?
Written by @liorasophie.